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Prenatal Care

by | Feb 14, 2019

Every pregnancy is unique, and whether it’s your first baby or you’re an experienced mother, the cravings, symptoms and rapidly growing tummy you’re about to experience may be like nothing you’ve known before. That’s why it’s important to choose a provider you can trust and feel comfortable with as you ask questions and share concerns.

Quality care is available close to home with the providers you know and who are familiar with your medical history. Prenatal care at Virginia Gay is provided up to 30 weeks gestation for a healthy single pregnancy. After 30 weeks, or if you’re experiencing a high-risk pregnancy or expecting more than one baby, your Virginia Gay provider will facilitate an appointment with a specialist.  The providers at Virginia Gay have excellent relationships with many OB-GYN specialty clinics located in both Waterloo and Cedar Rapids.

A mother-to-be will have prenatal appointments every four weeks during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. In weeks 29 through 36, the appointments are typically every two weeks until 36 weeks.  From week 36 appointments with your OB will occur weekly until birth. However, the number of times you visit your health care provider may vary due to your medical history or complications.

Virginia Gay Family Medical Clinics located in Atkins, Urbana, Van Horne and Vinton all offer prenatal care.

How long into a pregnancy does Virginia Gay treat patients?

Virginia Gay Family Medical Clinics provide prenatal care to 30 weeks for pregnancies without complications.

Are there any circumstances that would prevent me from receiving prenatal care at VGH?

Virginia Gay Family Medical Clinics are unable to provide prenatal care for pregnancies of multiples or high-risk pregnancies.

What can I expect from my first prenatal appointment?

The first prenatal appointment can be scheduled as soon as you suspect you’re pregnant and have taken a pregnancy test. At the appointment, your provider will ask questions about your health history and give you a check-up to provide you and your baby the best possible care. Your provider will calculate your due date, confirm your pregnancy and run a panel of tests including some basic bloodwork and a urine test.

What happens when a patient has reached the extent of the terms in which Virginia Gay is able to monitor their pregnancy?

Virginia Gay Family Medical Clinics have a close relationship with several specialists in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids. If you are pregnant with multiples, are high-risk, or you are 30+ weeks into your pregnancy, your provider will talk to you about your options and will help to schedule you an appointment with whichever practice you choose.

Are vaccinations safe during pregnancy?

Yes, vaccines containing inactivated viruses are safe and incredibly crucial during pregnancy. At Virginia Gay we encourage the flu shot and the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy can protect you from infection and can also help protect your baby after birth before he or she can be vaccinated. This is important because the flu and whooping cough can be particularly dangerous for infants.

If you’re at increased risk of certain infections, your primary care provider might also recommend other vaccines during pregnancy — such as hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines.

What are some of the standard tests performed during pregnancy?

 Several tests are performed during the duration of a pregnancy to monitor the health of you and your baby. Some of the more standardized tests may include as follows.


First Trimester: Rh Factor Testing, Initial Blood Workup, Pap Smear, Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), Ultrasound, Complete Blood Count (CBC).


Second Trimester: Level 2 Ultrasound and Glucose Screening (Glucose Tolerance Test), Complete Blood Count (CBC).


Third Trimester: Nonstress test, Group B Strep, Complete Blood Count (CBC).


Virginia Gay Hospital is home to a Top 200 lab. Any tests that your provider asks for can be performed right here, at home in the state-of-the-art laboratory testing facility where a team of dedicated and experienced laboratory professionals always at the ready.

Is Virginia Gay equipped to perform those tests?

You can be assured the VGH Laboratory Services has a state-of-the-art laboratory testing facility and a team of dedicated and experienced laboratory professionals always at the ready.

Skilled laboratory technicians with a combined 107 years of services promptly, and with careful attention to detail process each specimen with care in our climate-controlled laboratory to ensure your results are accurate.

Our Laboratory Services strictly follows industry standard procedures, adheres to established laboratory protocols, and recognizes that a majority of clinical decisions are affected by laboratory results.

What happens if there is something irregular about a pregnancy?

Depending on the situation, your provider will work with an experienced specialist.

What can a patient expect to happen during a regular prenatal appointment?

At each of your prenatal appointments, your weight, blood pressure, and heart rate will all be monitored. Your provider will measure your tummy and listen to your baby’s heartbeat, and answer any questions you have at the time.

How frequently do you see a patient during their pregnancy?

For a pregnancy without irregularity, patients are seen once a month for the first 28 weeks. For weeks 28-36 patients are seen every two weeks, and for weeks 36 to 40 patients are seen once weekly. Your provider may ask to see you more frequently if they feel it is necessary.

What can a patient expect to happen during the first ultrasound?

The first ultrasound is typically performed around eight weeks to confirm the pregnancy and will tell you if you’re expecting a single baby or multiples. At Virginia Gay, this ultrasound is performed internally with a wand and can show your baby’s heart rate, umbilical cord, and size, as well as the placenta. This examination will take approximately 30 minutes but can take longer.

How often will a patient receive ultrasounds during their pregnancy?

For a pregnancy without complications, it is typical to receive two ultrasounds — one to confirm the pregnancy and another around 18-22 weeks to identify the gender.

How soon can it be known what the gender of the baby is?

Gender is typically identified at 18-22 weeks during the anatomy ultrasound but can sometimes be detected as early as 10-12 weeks.

Are there any steps a patient should take if they don't want to know the gender?

Simply mention the fact to the technician at the beginning of each ultrasound.

How important is a healthy diet in relation to a healthy pregnancy?

Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy is essential. Healthy amounts of Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein, and Dairy products should be consumed daily to get the nutrients both you and your baby need. Talk to your provider about recommended foods to eat and to avoid.

Are my pre-existing conditions important for my provider to know?

Have an open and honest conversation with your provider about pre-existing conditions at the very first appointment. In some instances, the situation may change or affect the safety of the pregnancy.

How important is it to take a prenatal vitamin?

A daily prenatal vitamin can help fill small gaps – just in case you unintentionally do not get enough essential nutrients. Prenatal vitamins should be taken up to three months before conception, if possible.

How important is the state of my mental health during pregnancy?

It’s important not only for you but also for your growing baby to take care of your mental health. Be sure you’re eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Mood swings can be normal during pregnancy. But if you start to feel nervous, anxious or depressed for long periods, it could be a sign of something deeper going on. Stress over being pregnant, changes in your body during the pregnancy, and everyday worries can take a toll.

Talk to your primary care provider today. At Virginia Gay, we want to ensure that mother and baby are doing well both physically and emotionally.